The Effect Of Environmental Factors On English Language Among Secondary School Students
The study examined the effect of environmental factors on English language among secondary school students in Lagos. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 students in secondary schools in Oshodi-Isolo Local government, Lagos state. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.
The results revealed that: There is availability of learning resources used in the schools. The learning environment affects the acquisition of English language positively. There is positive and significant relationship between environmental factors and English language (r=0.772; p<0.05). There is significant difference between environmental factors and English language (r=.896; p<0.05). There are significant reason environmental factors affect English language (r=0.772; p<0.05).
It is therefore concluded that environmental factors has effect on English language among secondary school students in Lagos. The study suggested; Government should pay attention to the school environment by supporting schools’ budgets for facilitating their buildings and equipment; Headmasters/mistress should enhance the study environment for both teachers and students to achieve better quality of education; Teachers as well should participate in creating encouraging learning environment in the classes by various means; Students should be self-motivated to study English as a second language and the burden of that falls on the shoulders of teachers, parents, and schools’ administrations as well; Responsibility of raising students and teachers’ awareness of the value of environment and its impact on the education’s quality lays upon trainings; Decision makers in educational and social issues have to consider these factors when they set policies and plans related to students learning in general and learning English in particular
1.1 Background to the Study
Language is essential to human existence, it’s one of the most useful tools we have as humans. it has become a major tool of communication between countries, cultural groups, communities and friends. It aids in developing and grooming one’s personality as a whole. It is used to convey ideas, desires and expression. it indicates culture. There is no country without a language. There are roughly 6,500 languages in the world today, English language being one of it. Generally, one of the most popular languages need in the world today is English language.
Nigeria is a multilingual country, it has over 450 ethnic groups. English language became the official language and second language, it is the language of integration which unites all ethnic groups. The language is used in communication, science, business, entertainment etc. and this makes the acquisition of English language important. This language occupies a prominent place in the Nigerian school curriculum, it is being taught in schools from the pre-nursery down to the tertiary institutions.
This is because it is the major medium of instruction in schools. Language plays a crucial role in learning, and if the learner is handicapped in the language of instruction, then learning may not take place at all as the instructor or teacher and the learner will not be communicating (Malekale, 2003). Additionally, ADEA (2005) argues, ‘language is not everything in education, but without language everything is nothing in education’ (p.5). With English language being intertwined in every aspect of the Nigerian education, secondary students still perform woefully in the acquisition of the language.
Language learners learn English language in an environment of second language which makes English learning difficult. As mentioned by Maesin et al (2009) “in second language learning, students find difficulties to utilize the language skills outside of language classrooms as there are fewer opportunities due to poor language environment” (pg. 71).
The environment is a big factor when learning a new language and its can either affect the acquisition of the language positively or negatively. Ogiegbaen (2010), observes the following environmental deficiencies in Nigerian schools:
- Many schools, especially those in urban areas are located in areas where there is a busy movement and activities of many people
- Many schools have dilapidated buildings with leaking roofs and cracked walls.
- There is no electricity in majority of the schools.
- He also observed that most of the schools, especially those in urban areas are overcrowded with some classroom housing as many as 70 to 100 students.
- Most of the schools did not have adequate staff rooms and offices.
- Most of the schools have no libraries and where they are available there were scarcity of books in the shelves.
This is the critical state of most secondary schools in Nigeria, which are the barriers against the effective teaching and learning of English language. Hence this study examines environmental factors and its effect on English language in four selected schools in Ibadan.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
English language is the official language in Nigeria. It is also a second language learned and mastered in Nigeria. But most Nigerians find it difficult to learn the language as there are different factors that affect the acquisition of English language. Among many different factors this study looks at the environmental factors that influence the acquisition of English language. Many psychologists are unanimous in their views that the environment one finds oneself contribute to one’s acquisition of language.
The negative influence of environment on the academic performance of students in general and the acquisition of English language in particular has been an issue of concern to all partners in the educational sector. Specifically, it has been reported that the performance of secondary school students in English language is low and not satisfactory. In this regards, this study aims to investigate environmental factors (specifically looking at the learning resources and learning environment) and its effect on English language.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main focus of this study was to examine the impact of environmental factors on secondary school students‘ performance in English Language in Lagos State, Nigeria. Precisely, the study was conducted to:
- Determine the impact of environmental factors on students‘ performance in English Language in urban and rural secondary schools in Lagos State.
- Ascertain the impact of class size on the performance of students in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State.
- Examine the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State.
- Determine the impact of environmental factors on the performance of male and female students in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were stated to guide the conduct of the study:
- What impact does environmental factors have on students‘ performance in English Language in urban and rural secondary schools in Lagos State?
- What is the impact of class size on the performance of students in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State?
- What is the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State?
- To what extent does environmental factors have impact on the performance of male and female students in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses have been postulated for the conduct of this study:
H01: There is no significant difference in the impact of environmental factors on students‘ performance in English Language in urban and rural secondary schools in Lagos State.
H02: There is no significant difference in the impact of class size on the performance of students in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be beneficial to the students, the teacher, parents and the school.
It will encourage and enable the students to study and master English language zealously.
It will enable the teachers to always make the environmental factors very conducive for learning and also make them know the various means in which the learning resources can aid their teaching.
The feedback they get from their children’s result will motivate them to encourage their children to learn the language properly. It will also motivate the parents to contribute financially to the upkeep and development of the environment in which their wards learn.
The result of this study will help the school to detect their mistakes and make positive preparation to make the environmental factors conducive for learning and to provide the right learning resources for the teacher to use while teaching.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study has its focus solely on the effect of environmental factors on English language among secondary school students in Lagos State. It will focus on secondary school students in Lagos State as the study covers three secondary schools located in Osodi-Isolo local government area (Matori grammar school, Okota grammar school, Ajumoni senior school) The population will be comprised of secondary students.
1.8 Operation Definition of Terms.
It is the known characteristics in an environment that affects the acquisition of English language. In this study the researcher will concentrate on two factors, which are learning resources and environmental factors.
The outcome of the causes of environmental factors on English language.
It is the official language and second language in Nigeria.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In view of the findings from this study, conclusion was made that unconducive environmental factors has negative impact on students‘ academic performance. In addition, a good school location with accessible road, good field of play, neat toilet and large classroom with lighting and library stocked with up-to-date textbooks have positive impact on students‘ performance and that whenever students are exposed to unhealthy atmosphere as a result of overcrowded classroom their performance can be negatively affected. In like manner, environmental factors can be shown to have discernible effects on learners. In particular, inadequate temperature control, lighting, air quality and acoustics have detrimental effects on concentration, mood, well-being, attendance and, ultimately, attainment of students. Also, as teaching and learning does not take place in a vacuum, therefore, learning materials give meaning to the planned curricula and extra-curricula activities. As such cleanliness, orderliness, and safety of the environmental factors not only aid effective learning but have impact on students‘ performance.
Based on the major findings of this study, the following recommendations if taken up would improve considerably the environmental factors in secondary schools in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular.
- Lagos State government should make secondary schools in the state more conducive for learning by providing facilities such as up-to date text books, teaching aid, good playing field, resource person and neat toilet.
- Adequate classrooms should be provided with chairs and desks to correspond with the yearly increase of students‘ enrolment.
- Government should ensure that rural schools are provided with necessary facilities such as library with up to date text books, laboratory with modern equipments and sport facilities like scrabble, and basket ball court to increase students‘ performance and thus bridge the gap of rural-urban educational
disparities within the state.
- Essential learning materials such as chart, projectors, films and computer that can improve students‘ learning should be provided in schools.
- School environment should be appealing, attractive, friendly and safe for both male and female students.
5.4 Contribution to Knowledge
This study has contributed to the body of knowledge as it revealed or exposed the need to ensure a conducive environmental factors. Since education is dynamic both in content and methods, educational facilities need to be constantly evaluated and modified, not only to remove absolute and unattractive structure but also to ensure that such facilities continue to meet the modern and ever changing educational needs, changing technology and the dynamic socio-political and economic environment.
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